Urban Campus

Marsh Hall

Marsh Hall

Front entrance of Marsh Hall

Marsh Hall, a dormitory designed by Carneal & Johnston, is unique among other buildings on campus.  In 1968, the Department of Housing and Urban Development approved a one-million-dollar construction loan for a University of Richmond dorm. This loan proved to be thematic throughout the construction process.  Compared to the neighboring dormitories, Marsh lacks many features that help enhance a student’s overall experience.  For example, Freeman Hall, which is adjacent to Marsh, has a spire, chimney, fire place, and suite-style rooms.  Marsh does not have any of those characteristics which hurts its overall appeal to society.  Since Marsh was federally funded, it was designed in the most cost-effective way as possible.  It has a hall bathroom, instead of bathrooms that are shared between two rooms.  In addition, the envelope of the building is brick and stucco.  The Tuder style takes up about 40% of the buildings exterior because it is cheaper than brick. In 1970, Lakeside Hall was completed and opened up to students.  In 1973, Lakeside was renamed to honor Robert T. Marsh and was called Marsh Hall. 

Marsh Hall developed a reputation of the "party dorm."  Students treated Marsh with little respect, and that is evident through the types of vandalism that took place through the decades. Stolen fire exit signs, kicked-in heating vents, overturned trash cans, broken ceiling tiles, cracked marble pillars, and glass bottles thrown at doors were examples of the types of violence that took place in the dorm.  In addition, students tampered with the bathroom facilities, and in some cases, ripped out the toilets.  I interviewed an alumnus who graduated in 2000 and she said Marsh Hall reminded her of a locker room.  The athletes would leave their shoes outside of their doors to let them air out.  

In 2001, for the first time in Richmond history, women moved into a dorm that was on the Richmond College side of campus.  Marsh Hall and Gray Court switched residents and all of Marsh’s male residents moved to Gray and all of the females in Gray moved to Marsh.  Interestingly enough, the urinals in Marsh were not removed when the women moved in.  During the same year, Marsh underwent renovations.  They installed an A/C unit in each room, and replaced all exit doors with a magnetic clip that keeps the door open. The carpet was replaced and broken furniture was replaced with new ones. 

Marsh Hall